Geordon Blanton’s championship senior year

June 9, 2017 FieldsColumn

BY MIKE FIELDS

J.C. Blanton remembers last summer when his son Geordon told him he’d like to win three state championships his senior year at Johnson Central.

“I told him if he got one he’d be lucky,” J.C. said.

Geordon must be a lucky guy; it helps that he’s an exceptional athlete, too.

Geordon Blanton

After leading Johnson Central to its first state football title last fall, and after winning his second individual state wrestling title this past winter, Geordon Blanton is playing for the Golden Eagles in the Whitaker Bank/KHSAA State Baseball Tournament this weekend.

Blanton hasn’t taken time yet to relax and reflect on just how special his championship senior year has been.

“I can sit back and think about everything this summer when my high school season is over,” he said. “Right now I want to make sure I live in the moment, enjoy it, and soak it all up.”

Jim Matney, who coached Blanton in football and wrestling, called Blanton’s accomplishments “a dream-come-true. Honestly, it’s something we’ve talked about ever since he was in elementary school. You could tell he was very gifted, and anytime you have a gifted athlete you want them to dream big and have big goals. And you have to preach to them to stay with it and work hard.”

Blanton once considered narrowing his focus to just baseball, but after talking it over with his dad and his coaches, he saw the benefit of playing multiple sports.

“If you only play one sport for four years in high school, there’s not much progress you can make,” he said. “There are probably some things you can tune up, but if if you play three sports, then go to one sport in college, you can make a huge jump. That’s what I’m looking to do.”

Matney, who’s had dozens of athletes earn college scholarships, has the same viewpoint.

“College coaches come in here and tell me they want kids that play multiple sports,” he said. “They tell me if you’ve got a kid who’s a college football recruit but plays three sports, he may have only reached 50 or 60% of his potential. They look at that as a positive, because when he gets to college and concentrates on one sport, he’s got that much more room to get better.”

Blanton, who has signed to play baseball at Marshall, could have played football or wrestled at the next level if he had taken up college offers in those sports.

Geordon Blanton was a four-year starter in football, and helped Johnson Central win its first state title last fall.

He was a four-year starter in football, a playmaker on offense and defense. He was a standout receiver the past two years, piling up more than 1,500 yards and 17 touchdowns.

“He was close to uncoverable,” Matney said. “He was a return man, too, and a big play guy on defense (at cornerback). He did everything.”

Johnson Central broke through and won its first state football championship last fall, demolishing Franklin-Simpson 48-0 in the Class 4A finals.

“To be the first team to bring a state title to Johnson Central and end that drought for the community was amazing,” Blanton said.

Blanton got involved in wrestling at an early age. He was competing for the middle school team when he was in the first grade, and he was wrestling with the varsity by the time he was a seventh-grader.

His dad also wrestled for Johnson Central, and was the first in school history to earn a medal at the state tournament by taking fourth place at 182 pounds in 1984.

Geordon said his dad needled him for years that he held family bragging rights until Geordon could earn a KHSAA medal.

The son supplanted his dad as family mat champ when he won the state title at 142 pounds as a sophomore. “When I won it I said, ‘You can’t say anything to me now,” Geordon recalled with a laugh.

He won another state title, at 160 pounds, a few months ago.

Blanton credits his time spent on the mat for his success in football and baseball.

Geordon Blanton won his second individual state wrestling title this past season. (KHSAA photo)

“Wrestling is the best sport to help you with every other sport,” he said. “It makes you a better overall athlete in every way. Your body gets more agile, you get leaner and you get better feet. And most important, it instills mental toughness in you.”

But Blanton always thought baseball was his best sport. He earned a starting spot on Johnson Central’s varsity when he was an eighth-grader. He helped the Golden Eagles win the 15th Region as a freshman, junior and again this year.

He’s a sure-handed shortstop and a solid hitter (.381, 55 runs, 33 RBI this season).

Johnson Central baseball coach Shawn Hall said Blanton “has something in him you don’t see very often. It’s like this motor, this energy level. It’s special. He’s such a great worker and has that ambition to want to excel at everything. He brings that energy, that attitude and that leadership from football to wrestling to baseball.

“He’s a once-in-every-20-years kid, and we’ve been blessed to have him.”

Blanton added another title recently when he was named the Dr. Rudy J. Ellis Sports Medicine Male Athlete of the Year by the Kentucky High School Athletic Directors Association.

He accepted the award at the Kentucky Athletic Hall of Fame induction ceremony on June 1 in Louisville.

J.C. Blanton noted that his never-nervous son wrote his acceptance speech on the ride to Louisville, and won over the big crowd with his delivery.

Four of the seven Hall of Fame inductees who followed him referenced his speech.

“That’s Geordon,” his dad said. “He’s always exceeded my expectations, and my expectations are unbelievable because, if you know me, I expect greatness.

“But every time we get in a situation where I don’t think we can climb that hill, some way, Geordon figures out a way to get around it or get over it.”

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